Saving money isn’t always easy, especially when prices keep going up. But having some cash in the bank provides peace of mind and options. Saving isn’t about depriving yourself, either. By exercising thoughtful planning and self-control, you can save money without preceding everything you love.
Here are some practical tips that have worked for my family:
Make a Budget and Stick to It
Budgeting does require some time upfront. But man, is it worth it? I use a simple spreadsheet to track our income and expenses. The first month I did this, I realized we were blowing $200 a month eating out when we thought it was only $100. Just cutting that in half meant $100 saved every month.
Use spreadsheet budgeting apps like Mint, and even write it by hand. See where all your money goes each month, then look for areas to cut back. I stopped getting haircuts as often. My husband canceled a couple of streaming services we didn’t watch anymore. Little changes that add up.
We also started following our budget closely. I transfer “fun money” to a separate monthly account that we can freely spend on entertainment. When that runs out, no more frivolous spending until next month.
Pay with Cash to Avoid Overspending
When you only have the cash in your wallet to spend, it makes you aware of what you’re buying. For example, I only took $40 to the mall this weekend. While eyeing a $25 shirt, I realized I’d have just $15 left for anything else I needed that day. So I put it back.
Pick a standard amount you know should cover the necessities for weekly household items. Let’s say $100 for one person. Go to the bank and get that cash out. When it runs out during the week, there is no more spending until your subsequent withdrawal.
Shop with a List and Avoid Impulse Purchases
This one is huge for saving money on food. I plan out meals for the week and make a detailed list before going to the grocery store - chicken, veggies, rice, eggs, milk, cereal, etc. With COVID, I do a lot of grocery pickup, making it even easier to stick to your list.
No matter where I shop, I keep my grocery list on my phone and avoid going down aisles I don’t need anything from. My grocery list prevents me from impulse tossing sodas, chips, or random clearance items. I get what I need and go.
Buy Generic Brands to Save
Most generics genuinely are the same quality for a lower price. For example, the same box of Cheerios is $7, but the Market Pantry Toasted Oats are $3 and taste identical to mine. Some generics even have guarantees where the store will credit you the difference if you do not like them.
One fun hack - check your grocery store ads and load digital coupons on their app. Then, if a name brand has a promotion making it cheaper than the generic that week, you can get it for less.
Use Coupons and Promo Codes
Before any online purchase, I always search for promo codes on sites like RetailMeNot. Most retailers email sign-up offers, giving you 10-15% off your first order.
For recurring expenses, note when your renewal is coming up and search for current deals. I saved 20% on my car insurance by taking five minutes to re-submit my info and get a new quote.
Even small savings add up. And who isn’t happy about saving money?
Buy in Bulk Where It Makes Sense
You can’t buy a gallon of milk in bulk unless you're starting your dairy farm. But some items like dry goods, certain veggies, or household items like toilet paper pay to buy in bulk.
My family shops at Costco a few times a year and stocks up on things like granola bars, cereal, almonds, paper towels, trash bags, and shampoo. With four kids, we go through that stuff. Buying in bulk saves anywhere from 20-50% for us.
If you can split bulk purchases with others, that's even more savings. Go in with friends or family on items. You save money and get the convenience of having someone else store it.
In Summary
It does require some intention and effort to save money. But looking at where your money goes and making small changes lets you bank more cash. Start monitoring your spending and planning purchases. Avoid impulse buys. And use coupons, promos, and bulk deals to maximize savings. Saving money provides so much more flexibility and options in life.
What tips do you have for saving money each month? Share any that have worked well for you!
Save More Money By Automating Your Finances
Want to put your savings on auto-pilot? Automating your finances makes saving effortless and helps grow your money faster.
Consider setting up automatic recurring transfers from your checking account to a separate high-yield account to build your savings. This way, you won't have to transfer funds each month manually, and your savings will grow consistently over time. Even starting with small amounts, such as $25 or $50 per transfer, can significantly impact your savings balance in the long run. With automatic transfers, you can meet your savings goals without even thinking about it.
Automate bill payments so you never miss a payment. Late fees quickly eat into savings. Scheduling bills to come out right after payday helps avoid that.
One great way to increase retirement savings is by utilizing payroll deductions to automatically transfer a portion of your paycheck directly into retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs. Investing in your retirement is crucial, and automatic transfers make it effortless. Transferring money automatically to your retirement account ensures that your future is secure while still having access to your current funds. Don't let impulsive spending jeopardize your retirement- take control with automatic transfers.
To make the most of this strategy, consider increasing the percentage of your paycheck that is contributed to your retirement account whenever possible. Even a slight increase can make a big difference in the long run. By taking advantage of payroll deductions and increasing your contributions, you can ramp up your retirement savings and feel more confident about your financial future.
A cash-back credit card is an excellent option if you make payments responsibly. Using this type of credit card can earn a certain percentage of the amount spent on purchases as cash rewards. Depending on the credit card you choose, cash rewards can range from 1-5%.
By participating in rewards programs, you can earn rewards on purchases you make anyway. The beauty of this is that you can save money on your everyday expenses without going out of your way to earn the rewards. You can earn rewards for discounts or free products or services when you buy groceries, gas, or other necessities. Rewards are a great way to stretch your budget and increase your savings.
Please make the most of your cash-back credit card, and it's essential to set it up for automatic redemption of rewards into your savings account. This way, you will be okay with redeeming your rewards manually or losing them altogether. It's also recommended to choose this option instead of gift cards, as they can have expiration dates or other limitations.
So, to save money on your purchases and earn cash rewards, consider signing up for a cash-back credit card and choosing automatic redemption into your savings account. If you are responsible for making payments, consider signing up for a credit card that offers cash-back rewards. You can earn 1-5% back on purchases you'd make anyway. Please set it to automatically redeem rewards into your savings account rather than getting gift cards.
Automating savings, bills, retirement contributions, and cash-back rewards lets your money work harder for you without any effort. Set it up once and watch your balances grow.
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